I've been perusing this site and these forums for a few days now, and have found all the information and advice to be extremely helpful. I thought that maybe I could post the details of my upcoming road trip and some more experienced travelers could offer a few nuggets of wisdom. First, a bit of background. I'm 23, just quit my job and am starting law school in august on a full scholarship, so I decided to blow my savings this summer on a road trip:) I've done my share of traveling, but never by car. I'm an avid rock climber, and so am used to camping, hostels, etc. Also, I went to college in St. Louis, and have done the 14 hour drive nonstop atleast 6 times, so I know I can handle long hours alone in the car. On to the trip!
My trip is planned to be very climbing and poker-centric (I've built up quite a bit of comps at harrah's casinos, and plan on cashing them in for free weeknight rooms along the way). So here's the locale breakdown:
Philly-->St. Louis (stay with friends)
St. Louis-->Boulder, CO (stay with friends)
Albuquerque-->Vegas (cheap hotel)
Yosemite-->Lake Tahoe (hostel)
Lake Tahoe-->San Francisco (hostel)
San Francisco--> No. Cal coast (camp)
No Cal coast-->Reno (free hotel)
Reno --> Salt Lake City (camp)
Salt Lake City-->Veadawoo, So WY (camp)
Veadawoo-->Omaha Nebraska (free Harrahs hotel)
Omaha-->Kansas City (free Harrahs hotel)
Kansas City-->St. Louis (stay with friends)
St. Louis-->Fayetteville, WV (camp)
Luckily for me, most climbing areas are so remote that landowners cant get away with charging much more than $6-8/night for camping privileges. Therefore, I have budgeted my lodging at $100/wk. This does not include my stay in Vegas or San Francisco, which have already been paid for. $800 total (ten week trip - 2 weeks Vegas/SF)
I have liberally allotted myself 10,000 miles for the trip. At 25 mpg and $3.75/gal thats another $1425.
I plan on cooking my own meals most of the time (cold cuts for lunch, have a propane grill for dinner), however, in Vegas, San Fran, and when I'm with friends in St. Louis and CO I may be eating out a bit. I also smoke about a half pack a day (bad, I know), and like to party some when the mood strikes (climbing campsites can get pretty rowdy). I've allotted $40/day for 'consumables' - food, smokes, and beer. $2800 total.
I have a $2000 fix-the-car budget, which will include oil changes. I'm hoping to escape with most of this intact. This portion of my budget is in the form of plastic (repayable with money expected upon return). If my car really eats it for some reason, I'm gonna suck it up, find my way to an airport, and go home. FYI, I have a 2001 Outback with 142,000 miles on it. My last Subaru (purchased for $750 with 185,000 miles) lasted to 215,000. If mine makes it through this trip I'm hoping it will also last me through school - 3 more years.
I'm sure half the fun of posting here for most is reading other's itineraries and seeing all the cool stuff they're doing; it has been for me. I guess what I'm hoping for by posting here is that more experienced roadtrippers can point out potential holes in my plan. My total budget is $5025, with $2000 set aside for potential car repairs. FYI, the money I'll be gambling with comes from a separate fund. I've been playing cards on the side for about two years with a good deal of success, mostly because I treat it like a business and don't dip into my poker money when my checking account is looking grim. I'm actually hoping that my time in Vegas and the odd casinos along the way will pay for most of the trip, but thats besides the point. I'm planning as if it wont.
Also most welcome are any suggestions on places to stay, things to do, etc at the places I mentioned above (or any in between).
Thanks for listening, and thanks for any help!